[nycbug-talk] X and screen. was: BSD on a desktop
Sun Aug 1 07:13:10 EDT 2004
on 20040731 2:04 PM pete wright had written...
> hey marc,
> here is a dumb question...can you run say Xterm in a screen session,
> detach the session (along with xterm) then re-attach the session
> somewhere else and have the xterm come back. i've tried it out, but
> have a feeling that it's not possible or i'm missing a swtich somewhere.
I'm also a big fan of screen. The 2 main situations I use it are
1.) ssh into a remote server- start a screen session - do stuff, maybe
kick off a long compile, dettach. I can then go to work- ssh into that
server and reattach. The process has been running and I can pick up
where I left off.
2.) I was uncomfortable with running x on a workstation then walking
away. Anyone could kill the session and drop down to a prompt... with
my credentials. So, I actually use it everytime I run startx. May
would say a common solution would be to use a display manager like XDM,
KDM, GDM but.. Common solutions are not always the right ones or the
most secure ones. I may be wrong, but, as far as I know:
-- Display mgrs require you to run X.. there are many times I just don't
-- Display mgrs require you to launch X as root.
-- Display mgrs control your machine.. it is very difficult to close X
and drop to a prompt... say, if you were going to do a large compile and
wanted to free up some overhead
I wanted to secure my workstation, but, I didn't want to loose access to
my console altogether.
Option "DontVTSwitch" "true"
Option "DontZap" "true"
... would have required a reboot in case something went wrong with X.
Disabling "magic sysreq key" and ctrl+alt+del could also lock me out of
my own box... except for the Power button and the wall plug.
My answer was to use a very familiar utility called 'screen'.
1) I logon as a user (not root)
2) type 'screen', and I'm given a new prompt
3) at the new prompt I type 'startx'. Which ever WM/DE is set in the
.xinitrc loads (KDE, GNOME, fluxbox...etc).
4) <CTRL><ALT><F1> takes me back to the 'screen' prompt.
5) "<CTRL><A> d" to detach ('man screen' for more) and I'm back at the
6) from here I can 'logout'... the logon prompt appears.
7) <CTRL><ALT><F7> takes me back to the WM/DE
I only have to do this once for each re-boot, which is not often.
Now I can use any X screensaver/lock I choose. I can walk away from my
desk knowing X is locked and the box is secured. Without my password,
noone can use my credentials. If they need the box, they can log in
themselves. I can also recover from any X mishaps more gracefully than a
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